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|Brasher helps extend streak|
This is the 25th in a 30-part series on the top football games played in Concordia Parish.
The 42nd straight win without a loss for the Ferriday Bulldog football team on September 14, 1956 would surely have made the ESPN top plays highlight nowadays.
Ferriday beat Delhi 20-13 as lineman Tommy Brasher scored the winning touchdown after catching a pitch by the Bear quarterback and returning it 70 yards with no time left on the clock.
"We didn't expect them to be that tough, and we were having a hard time moving the ball against them," said Brasher, who would transfer back to his hometown of El Dorado, Ar., his junior year before going on to play college football at Arkansas. "I was expecting them to run out the clock and take the tie, and the next thing that I knew there the ball was in the air and it just came down right into my hands, so I grabbed it and ran."
"I remember all of us running behind Tommy, yelling, 'Run, run, run.' He told us later he was running as fast as he could," Daye said.
With the game tied at 13-13 and Delhi inside Ferriday territory with 10 seconds remaining, Bear quarterback Bobby Leech was caught behind the line attempting to pass the ball. At the last second, he attempted to pitch the ball to running back Buster Harrell, who was hit by Butch Bateman. Brasher intercepted the pass and ran 70 yards as time ran out. Brasher, who went on to coach in college and the NFL, was carried from the field by his teammates after kicking the extra point.
"The ball fell right in my hands," Brasher said. "That could have been anybody. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. That was not the best play choice. I just caught the ball and took off with it. I had nobody chasing me. I think the quarterback and running back were kind of stunned. That was definitely one of the strangest plays I had ever been associated with."
Brasher, who played fullback on offense, took extra pleasure in tackling Leech.
"Coach (Johnny "Red") Robertson really built up Delhi as a fine team, but I don't think that we believed it," Brasher said. "He always built the opponent up as any good coach would do, but he had special tribute to Leech. Our problem was on offense,not stopping them. Coach was concerned about Delhi, but they were Class B, and it was early in the season. You have to give them credit, they were ready, and I remember them taunting us late in the game."
Donnie Daye returned a punt 35 yards to the Delhi 4-yard line and scored from there for first touchdown of game. Brasher's kick hit the crossbar and bounced back for a 6-0 Bulldog lead.
"I loved returning punts," Daye said. "That was my forte. It was fun to sit back there, catch the ball and get a glimpse of what is coming at you. If I could get past that first man, I generally could get past the next three or four. Then I would look for that seam."
Delhi, which lost to Holy Name 34-7 in the Class B finals in 1955 and beat Zachary 25-6 for the Class B state title in 1957, took a 7-6 lead in the second quarter, scoring on a 13-6 on fumble recovery for 18 yards and led by one point at halftime, the first time Ferriday trailed at intermission since 1952 against Winnsboro.
Delhi went up 13-6 in the fourth quarter as Leech passed 16 yards to Brown.
Daye tied the game with a 23-yard scoring run and kicked the extra point to tie the game at 13-13.
Ferriday gambled on fourth-and-five and failed, giving Delhi the ball at the Bulldog 22, which led to Brasher's winning play.
"I think that we were a better defensive team in '56 than offense," Brasher said.
The 42-game winning streak was tainted a bit the next week, but still alive as Ferriday and defending Class 2A champion Jena played to a 13-13 tie.
"That was bittersweet, but it still wasn't losing," Brasher said. "I do remember that as a team, we felt that we had escaped disaster against Delhi, and that we would not assume anything from that point on. We didn't talk much about it, but it was just a feeling amoung the team. We were a good team, but we were not as dominant as the '55 team. We went into the Delhi game thinking that nobody could beat us, and they didn't, but you don't lose people like we lost from the '55 team without having some drop off. We did get it together and develop, but we were younger and less experienced at the time of that game."
Brasher would go into coaching, assisting at Arkansas
Brasher returned to his hometown of El Dorado to coach high school football as an assistant for one year.
fter a brief stint as an assistant high school coach in Galveston, Brasher took the head football coaching job at Hot Springs High School. He then joined the Arkansas coaching staff in 1970. Then came assistant coaching jobs at Virginia Tech, Louisiana-Monroe (1974 and 76), the Shreveport Captains of the WFL in 1975 and SMU from 1977 to 1981.He then made the jump to the NFL in 1982 as an assistant coach with New England.
Braves was named defensive line coach for Philadelphia in 1985, then moved on to the Atlanta Falcons until 1989. After this he went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to coach for one year in 1990. He coached the Seattle Seahawks defensive line from 1992-1998. Then he went back to the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999, until 2005, when he retired.
Brasher remains as a consultant for the Eagles after retiring in 2006., suggesting offensive strategy against each Philadelphia opponent.
"Oddly enough, my middle brother, Steve, graduated from Northeast Louisiana and his first coaching job was at Delhi, where Billy Calvert was the head coach," Brasher said. "I remember so much more about Coach Robertson's coaching than I do my playing. I think that the biggest value that it was to me was Coach 'Red's' coaching and what it meant to me during my 41 years of coaching. I remember everything about his coaching, and how much I hung on every word, and what a great source of pride if you were lucky enough to ever extract a compliment from him."
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